GOP leadership backs Democratic-supported immigration bill

The House Republican leadership looks set to push an immigration bill through, even if it is opposed by a large number of GOP legislators worried about Americans’ jobs and immigrants’ votes.

The unpublished bill has been drafted by a secretive group of four Democratic and four Republican House legislators.

“I think as of last night, they may have an agreement in principle in terms of how we would deal with the question of both legal immigration and illegal immigration,” House Speaker John Boehner told the New York Times March 14. “I do believe it’s important that we deal with this in a bipartisan way, and I’m going to do everything I can to continue to promote that.”

The details of the joint bill are secret, and may not be released until after the Easter recess has passed. In 2006 and 2007, a similar amnesty plan was derailed when many legislators were confronted by opponents at during recess.

However, the bill is likely to produce a storm of protest from the GOP base, and opposition from many swing voters.

Many business backed polls show broad support for amnesty, but other polls show lopsided public and conservative opposition to the measures. (RELATED: Immigration group says polls on citizenship pathway are mistaken)

Large-scale immigration is strongly supported by an alliance of progressives, establishment media outlets, ethnic groups, and some businesses, such as Univision and Telemundo.

Boehner’s statement “is a very good thing: Bipartisan U.S. immigration reform bill takes shape in House,” said a tweet from Ali Noorani, executive director of the progressive National Immigration Forum.

“Even the House is helping to move the immigration legislative process in a positive direction,” said a March 15 statement from Frank Sharry, head of America’s Voice.

Many business groups have joined that progressive coalition, because they hope to bring in many new guest-workers. For example, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Partnership for a New American Economy is led by a board of progressive politicians and corporate executives.

Press aides for most of the eight House legislators declined to detail their secret immigration bill.